The Best Ways to Prevent Heat-Related Injuries this Summer
Summer weather, especially in Florida, might feel great on the beach, but it can cause a variety of health problems for children participating in sports. Florida’s heat and humidity often feel so overwhelming that it’s hard to imagine just walking outside. Yet each day, children participate in intense and demanding sports right alongside their teammates. This dedication should be applauded, but it’s critical that all student athletes follow basic safety rules to avoid experiencing dehydration, heat stroke, and other dangerous health conditions often brought on by the heat.
Water is truly the body’s best friend, and it does more than simply quench thirst. Water is critical for survival and is responsible for keeping the body functioning. In fact, water supports major functions like blood circulation, metabolism, and nutrient absorption. The body can’t store water, which is why it’s so important to drink water each day to replenish the body. Children lose extra water when they play sports, since the body naturally sweats as a way to regulate body temperature and cool down. This means that if children don’t drink enough water before, during, and after participating in a sport, they place themselves at risk of dehydration and heat stroke.
Recognizing and Treating Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Dehydration begins when the body does not have all of the water it needs to stay cool and adequately support important body functions. It can actually develop before a child even begins to feel thirsty. Dehydration becomes more noticeable when a child starts to lose energy and struggles to continue playing. Dark urine, dry lips, and a dry tongue are other indicators of dehydration. Heat stroke often results from unresolved dehydration. Without enough water, the body’s cooling system can’t work efficiently, and the body becomes overheated. Symptoms include throbbing headache, dizziness, hot skin, rapid heartbeat, and confusion.
The best treatment for dehydration and heat stroke is prevention. Parents and coaches alike can regulate healthy hydration habits and explain to children the serious consequences of neglecting to drink water. It is best to have children drink a cup of cold water about an hour before playing sports, and another cup shortly before playing. Children should also take a few sips of water at least every 20 minutes during sports to replace the water lost through sweat. Even if they don’t feel thirsty, continuing to drink water is key.
If you are concerned that your own child might be suffering from dehydration or heat stroke, call Pediatric Care of Four Corners in Davenport, Florida immediately. The experienced and empathetic physicians at Pediatric Care of Four Corners will give your child the care he needs to return to full health. Of course, Pediatric Care of Four Corners can also provide regular checkups and care for ongoing conditions. Call (863) 804-6194 to make your appointment.